PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Andrew Loupe knows how one week can change everything. He can only hope his eight-under-par 63 in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is the start of another one.
Loupe had to wait three hours to tee off because of rain Thursday, and then he played bogey-free on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. That gave him the lowest score among those who finished their rounds.
Rain soaked the Monterey Peninsula in the morning, which was great news for an area desperate for rain, not so much for the tournament. Puddles quickly formed on the greens at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, forcing play to be stopped on all three courses.
Monterey Peninsula played the easiest, and Loupe took advantage. He never had to scramble for par, missed only one fairway and only two of his birdies were from more than 10 feet. This was his first trip to the area, and it was everything he imagined.
“This place is amazing,” Loupe said with a smile as wide as a fairway.
“I really just stick to the plan and I know that my group is good. I have 100% trust in my swing coach, my family, my trainer,” he said. “I guess when you’re in those ruts, I just kept telling myself, ‘You’re supposed to be here, you’re going to play good, just keep playing.’ This is just one round, guys, but I feel good.”
The 25-year-old from Louisiana hasn’t made the cut in five starts his rookie season. Loupe might not even have a PGA Tour card except for his tie for sixth in the last event of the Web.com Tour Finals.
Stuart Appleby, Jim Renner, Richard Lee and Scott Gardiner had 65s at Monterey Peninsula. Phil Mickelson, a four-time champion, was at five under through 15 holes when the round was stopped because of darkness.
Pebble Beach played the toughest, though the weather was not nearly bad enough to make that much of a difference with only a cool breeze and no rain the rest of the day. Jimmy Walker, already a two-time winner this season, got up-and-down for birdie on the 18th for a 66, the best score at Pebble.
Jordan Spieth, playing with country singer Jake Owen, had the best round at Spyglass Hill at 67. He picked up birdies on all but one of the par-five holes, stuffed one close on the uphill second hole and escaped with par with a long pitch from short of the sixth green.
Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner of this event, had a 68 at Spyglass Hill playing with his future father-in-law, hockey great Wayne Gretzky.
Graeme McDowell, back at Pebble Beach for the first time since he won the 2010 U.S. Open, opened with a 71 at Spyglass Hill. He has to wait until Saturday to play Pebble Beach with his father, Kenny.
Defending champion Brandt Snedeker had a 72 at Spyglass Hill.
Jessica Korda birdied her last three holes for a five-under 68 and a share the lead with fellow American Katie Burnett after the first round of the Australian Ladies Masters in Gold Coast.
The 20-year-old Korda is coming off a victory in the LPGA Tour’s seasoning-opening event in the Bahamas. She won the 2012 Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne. Burnett birdied her final two holes in the event sanctioned by the European and Australian tours.
Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods’ neice, was a stroke back along with Canada’s Lorie Kane, France’s Valentine Derrey and South Africans Lee-Anne Pace and Stacy Lee Bregman. Australia’s Karrie Webb, the defending champion and an eight-time winner in the event, opened with a 74.
Scotland’s Craig Lee shot a seven-under 65 on Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s long and tougher East Course to share the first-round lead in the Joburg Open. Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth and South Africa’s Justin Walters also were seven under after shooting 64 on the West Course. Defending champion Richard Sterne opened with a 67 on the East Course, the site of the final two rounds in the event sanctioned by the European and Sunshine tours.